So probably by now everyone knows that iAcquire is now back ranking in Google, thanks to their recent promise to no longer buy links and presumably by cleaning up some of the spam they created for clients, as well as Michael King’s whining that nobody was covering the fact that they were being good boys now.
Michael (aka @ipullrank) is implying that the fact they are back into Google is big news while Joe Griffin more than once has been implying that he was closely working with Google on getting them back into the index – so it doesn’t take much of a leap for others who are banned in Google to think “Well hell, if they managed to get themselves back into Google through this so-called special relationship with Google, I bet they can get my dirtier than dirt site back in Google too!”
My question was more about how you let Google know about your actions & what they required.
You mention contacting them multiple times per week. Was that emailing Matt Cutts, via a help forum, through an email thread, or did you just do a reinclusion request?
Pretty fair question and something a lot of people were wondering about, namely if they had any kind of special relationship that saw them back in more quickly than another site would. And Joe Griffin’s response:
Ben, we made contact through pretty much all of those channels. I don’t know exactly what got us back in at this point. I believe that the various attempts were heard. Many of the communications did include transparency around what we’ve done in the past and also the plans we had to fix things which have violated those guidelines.
So he is definitely implying that emailing Matt Cutts was one of the avenues he took, and heck, if you think an SEO company has a direct line to Google, isn’t that the one you would go with? However I highly doubt Matt Cutts did any favors in this case since it was Google’s very public message about buying paid links being something that could get you kicked out of the index – and the way these two love publicity, you know they’d be a lot more blatant about anyone helping them back in. Sure, maybe a Google rep gave them some more clear cut “here is what you need to clean up” but I just cannot see them pressing the magic unban button simply because they proclaim they are “nice guys”.
Both Michael King and Joe Griffin have come off a bit cocky in this entire situation, particularly on some of the tweets made by Michael King and the blog comments by Joe Griffin, but turns out they have a pretty damn good reason to be laughing. Check out this graph showing search traffic for iAcquire since the beginning of 2011.
Well, well, well. Looks like iAcquire was a bad boy long before the link scandal hit. And it also raises the question about what exactly iAcquire did to really get banned. It had been assumed that it was the paid links fiasco that hit them hard when it reality they lost their search traffic back in the second half of 2011, long before they were publicly implicated in the link buying scandal, and quite some time before Michael King came on board iAcquire as well.
So it begs the question, were they simply looking for some good publicity and they manufactured the whole “we got banned for buying links for clients” as nothing more than a publicity move? Because yes, it was big news that a company got banned in Google for buying links for not their own site, but for client sites. After all, while a few people had heard of Michael King through his speaking and wannabe badass rap persona, very few people had heard of iAcquire until this happened.
If you also look back on all the news stories about iAcquire getting banned, there was never any comment from Google on the situation or the exact reason why they removed iAcquire from the index.
And the other huge thing iAcquire got out of it? Hundreds and hundreds of very, VERY targeted backlinks from highly respected SEO and industry related news sites and blogs. Sure it was negative press, but at the end of the day, a quality link is a quality link regardless if it is linking because you are shitty or because you are good, and that is nothing some good reputation management can’t fix (although I do question whether they can afford someone who can fix it). And most of the sites gave full link juice across the board without putting any kind of no follow attributes on it. So really, it was just a huge WIN for iAcquire. And a big score for Michael King, the head of inbound marketing, in getting all these links by what looks like false pretenses.
Yes, there has definitely been a upsurge in their search traffic very recently. But the real question is why did they really get banned? And how do you feel knowing that iAcquire and Michael King just played the entire SEO industry for all those juicy backlinks while misrepresenting what really got them kicked out of Google? I sure know this is the last publicity I want to be giving them.